I came across a wonderful article this morning at http://catholicexchange.com/ by Jimmie A. Davis, Jr. titled Running is About More than Winning. This gentleman began running about the same time I did...8 years ago. (Although I have not been consistant with my training until recently). He writes about how, when he began running, it was for personal glory: to get in shape, to look and feel better, to compete in races and to relieve stress. After a conversion experience several years ago he now runs, still to keep in shape, compete in races and as a stress relief but instead of for personal glory, he runs for the glory of God. (His complete article can be accessed here: http://catholicexchange.com/2009/01/02/115056/ )
This is exactly what I began doing about 6 months ago. I put away my MP3 player and used my runs as time for prayer and meditation. Each run started with the Rosary, asking for Our Blessed Mother's intercession on a myriad of issues. I worked hard to fully meditate upon each and every mystery of the most Holy Rosary. If I was through with the Rosary and found that I still had distance to go, I would do the same with the Divine Mercy prayers. I found that my distance and my time improved significantly. Once I was able to get out of the mindset of personal satisfaction and pride to pleasing and honoring the Lord instead, I found a peaceful joy in my heart.
When I ran the Turkey Trot, this past November, I continued with this practice of meditating upon the Rosary. I was truly surprised when the finish line approached for it had seemed the race had only begun! How truly glorious this experience was!
I thank Jimmie A. Davis, Jr. for putting into words (much better than I) how one is changed for the better when one switches his/her mindset from personal pride to pleasing and honoring our sweet and precious Lord.
For more information on the Rosary, please visit: http://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/rosary/
For more information on the Divine Mercy Chaplet, please visit: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php